Maria van Vlodrop on MvVO, the Accessible Art Fair and more

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Maria van Vlodrop / Photo: Patrick McMullan
Maria van Vlodrop / Photo: Patrick McMullan

Contrary to popular belief, the average New Yorker can be an art collector. Thanks to Maria van Vlodrop and the Accessible Art Fair New York presented by MvVO ART, New Yorkers have an opportunity to not only meet top modern artists but purchase some of their work. Taking place at The National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South through Nov. 25, the Accessible Art Fair launched on Nov. 1 with an event sponsored by Stoli Elit Vodka, Brussels Airlines, Neuhaus Belgian Chocolates and artnet, and in collaboration with partners Tumblr, One Art Nation, The Clarion List, BelCham, Christie’s Collectrium and The Lowell Hotel. Tickets sales for the event — which is affiliated with Stephanie Manasseh’s Brussels Fair, as founded in 2007 — give back to the art world as they benefit the non-profit organization Materials for the Arts.

Downtown caught up with Maria for some Q&A about the Accessible Art Fair New York, MvVO and more. More info on this inaugural event can be found at www.accessibleartfairnewyork.com. The Accessible Art Fair can also be followed vua Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How would you describe Accessible Art Fair New York to someone that hasn’t yet attended it?

Maria van Vlodrop: The Accessible Art Fair New York presented by MvVO ART is a unique experience. You get to meet the artists and learn what inspires them. A jury of famous art experts has handpicked these artists and their work is worth seeing. They are rising stars ready for discovery! I think this is an incredible opportunity for everyone at the fair. The artists can jumpstart their careers and the art lovers can be in on the beginning of their stories.

You can also meet art influencers, mingle with other art lovers, and have fun. It’s not an intimidating atmosphere. It’s friendly and you can buy art that you love. With a little luck, the value might appreciate because you caught the artist before they were famous. The Fair is being held in the iconic National Arts Club on Gramercy Park. It’s a gorgeous, Gothic Revival, Victorian Mansion. I think everyone is going to love seeing contemporary art in that beautiful, historic space.

What prompted it to come to New York this year? Did specific people help make this happen?

MVV: The Accessible Art Fair has been a very successful annual event for 10 years in Brussels. After attending it for five years, I moved to New York and was amazed to find that there was nothing like it in New York. So I decided to bring the Fair here. The New York edition is presented by MvVO Art — a new art venture that I founded last year for creating opportunities for artists, collectors and corporate sponsors to discover one another and form powerful partnerships. I have partnered with Stephanie Manasseh, the founder of the Brussels Fair. I’m co-founding and directing the New York edition, with Stephanie serving as our Chief Curator.

Who are some of the exhibitors or vendors that you are most excited about?

MVV: I’m most excited about our artists! We have 60 artists — from New York and all over the world. They’ve been vetted by a jury of prominent art experts from Sotheby’s, Gagosian Gallery, artnet, Christie’s, Collectrium, etc. All the artists are committed to their careers and our Fair is providing them with the perfect platform to progress. I’m also looking forward to the Brussels Airlines “Likes Art Award.” The public will vote for their favorite artist and the winner will be announced by the Belgian Consul General at a special reception at his residence.

Maria van Vlodro / Photo: Teresa Pyskaty
Maria van Vlodro / Photo: Teresa Pyskaty

What is coming up for Accessible Art Fair New York after this festival wraps?

MVV: We’ve partnered with Invaluable — the premium auction site — and will be moving the Fair online! The work of a select group of our artists will be available to purchase online from Dec. 1 to 20. So if you missed the Fair, or if you want to buy something you saw and didn’t buy during your visit you may have a second opportunity. We’re also busy planning our 2017 edition of the Accessible Art Fair New York presented by MvVO Art. We have an amazing venue in mind! For now, we are focusing on making this inaugural event a success. We want everyone to enjoy the exhibition!

For an artist to get involved with Accessible Art Fair New York, what should they do? Is there criteria to working with the organization?

MVV: In early 2017, MvVO Art will organize a call for artists for the Accessible Art Fair New York 2017 edition. Artists looking for recognition and additional exposure are encouraged to apply. We do not require that the artists have gallery representation, as we represent independent artists. I suggest that artists interested in participating get to know our team, by subscribing to our newsletter and connecting with us on social media. Our goal is to create the platforms artists need in order to gain recognition for their work. What matters most to us, is that they be talented and committed to pursuing their art careers. We love artists and we know that it takes hard work to succeed!

Alan Cumming at MvVO / Photo:  Teresa Pyskaty
Alan Cumming at MvVO / Photo: Teresa Pyskaty

When not busy with MvVO and the fair, how do you like to spend your free time?

MVV: I’m a soccer mom! So I’m often at matches cheering on my 11-year-old son. I also love traveling, spending time with friends, skiing, speed cycling, enjoying good food, trying new things, and — most of all — discovering new talented artists!

Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?

MVV: I don’t have a special favorite restaurant in New York, but I love the process of discovering one! As I’m originally Armenian, I love Almayass. I’m also looking forward to the opening of Majorelle at the Lowell Hotel by Charles Masson.

Finally, Maria, any last words for the kids?

MVV: Yes, kids are welcome at the Accessible Art Fair New York! I remember my son being impressed and inspired, by meeting artists. Kids will enjoy meeting artists and talking to them about their work. Art is important because it makes life more colorful and it is a wonderful way to express oneself. People also say that Art is a healer. Buy art with your pocket money, start collecting early, ask your parents to buy art for you, choose an artwork you like to hang in your room and enjoy it!

Emily Gershon, Robin McFadden, Anne Vincent== MvVO ART Presents for the First Time in New York from Brussels, The Accessible Art Fair New York: November 1-25, 2016== The National Arts Club, NY== November 1, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Sean Zanni/PMC== ==
Emily Gershon, Robin McFadden, Anne Vincent at MvVO / Photo – Sean Zanni/PMC